Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The Gallery... a Growing Gardens for Palestine poem by Anne Selden Annab

The Gallery

I dreamed
of him again...
were at the end,
in a gallery of treasures.

Along every wall were podiums
of all different heights holding
great silver urns and bowls
of all different sizes and shapes
smooth surfaces polished
reflecting ornate details
rims and handles
and flourishes

And he turned to me
spoke gently

And we walked together
slowly through the gallery...

Speaking of what we knew-
what we value

as we made our way
towards the farthest wall
with wide open doors

revealing the hint
of an exquisite garden beyond.

poem & photo copyright ©2011 Anne Selden Annab

Monday, October 31, 2011

Friday, October 21, 2011

A Wonderful Gala: ATFP 2011 Honoring Heritage & Embracing Originality

Dr. Asali was describing the keynote speaker Salam Fayyad with those words, but I think his words describe everyone attending and supporting the ATFP Gala.

It takes real courage to work towards actually building a real Palestinian state in today's world... AND the Gala was TOTALLY crowded with people, with quiet heroes who have been doing what they can each in their own way to help do exactly that.

There was much to celebrate and enjoy at this year's ATFP Gala.

A good summary of the event itself can be found on ATFP 's website

ATFP Gala Featuring PM Fayyad Highlights Quest for Peace, Palestinian-American Achievements

My favorite speech was by Hanan Karaman Munayyer's daughter Maha Munayyer Kabbash who spoke of her mother's work to collect and preserve Palestinian embroidery.

There was a breathtakingly beautiful display of those traditional Palestinian dresses and Hanan Karaman Munayyer's most recent book was on display too- it is huge!

Thankfully there are visionaries like Hanan Karaman Munayyer who have carefully collected and preserved the beauty of Palestine for Palestine, to share with all the world.

Thankfully there are also gifted musicians who help lift our spirits with their enchanting music....

Special Performance by Simon Shaheen and Ensemble- A concert of Arab vocal and instrumental music

Thankfully there are also people with delightful senses of humor, to help lighten the mood as we struggle against all odds to do what we can for Palestine in these very difficult times.

Dean Obeidallah and Maysoon Zayid and Omar Baddar ATFP Gala table #33

The crowd at ATFP's Gala was full of talented and highly competent people. Far too many to mention all of them. A very impressive crowd indeed. My husband Jaffar and I enjoyed sitting at table #33 with Hussein Ibish. Ibish is a brilliant thinker and speaker. Dean Obeidallah, a charismatic comic, and Omar Baddar, a talented young writer, were also at our table... I was in awe!

Mr & Mrs. Jaffar Annab ATFP Gala 2011

The warmth, wisdom, generosity, good character, true dignity and decency of Dr. Ziad Asali and his charming wife Naila help set the tone for The American Task Force on Palestine's Gala. It becomes easier and easier to believe that Palestine will actually emerge as a free and sovereign and successful nation state with friends and advisers like this.

The American Task Force on Palestine "is strictly opposed to all acts of violence against civilians no matter the cause and no matter who the victims or perpetrators may be. The Task Force advocates the development of a Palestinian state that is democratic, pluralistic, non-militarized and neutral in armed conflicts..."

The American Task Force on Palestine is convinced that diplomacy matters and that Palestine is worth discussing seriously AND worth investing in. The politicians and people of Palestine do not have to listen to ATFP if they don't want to- they are not forced to follow any one's advice. No one has to. But in my opinion it is a darn good idea to follow ATFP's lead as they are talented and well informed experts in the right place at the right time.

I also believe that Palestine is worth getting all dressed up for- and celebrating. No one knows what will be, but at least we can do what we can to try to help Palestine become a real nation state each in our own way.

Annie all dressed up in a green silk gown for the American Task Force on Palestine's Gala 2011. My jewelry was a gift long ago from my beloved father in law ( hand crafted in the Arab world and given to me on a visit to his home in Amman Jordan many years ago), and my handbag was embroidered by my American grandmother who used to live in Washington DC.

This morning I have been exchanging emails with a charming stranger who asked me several weeks ago if her local garden club could use one of my poems for a bookmark to give to her garden club members as a favor. For me, as a poet, this unexpected compliment is a higher honor than any formal prize or award I can think of. It is also a pertinent reminder to me of what building a state really means. It is not about rally cries or protest slogans or grandiose gestures, nor is it about headlines and newspaper articles. It is about slowly but surely building a community and belonging: It is about the individual efforts and good intentions and creativity and the admirable persistence of real people working together to make connections on a local level to improve our world and our collective future- to help make our world nicer... more safe, more beautiful, more pleasant and more welcoming for more people-for ALL people, citizens or not. A world where every child is welcome and free to grow up knowing what ever might be worth knowing.

On my own Granny's lap, in her garden Washington DC (Eleanor Standish Gamble James with Anne Selden Yellott Annab)


ATFP Sixth Annual Gala

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Little Golden Bell... a poem by Anne Selden Annab

Tiny 2,000-year-old golden bell found in Jerusalem: A tiny golden bell which was lost in Jerusalem some 2,000 years ago during the Second Temple period has been found among ruins near the Old City, Israel's Antiquities Authority has said

Little Golden Bell

Little golden bell
for 2000 years-
a precious treasure
and token
of times gone by

What stories did you hear
when you were first created
bought and sold
and then later- through the ages
as you hid in Palestine?

What songs and hymns stirred
your heart to beat

Did footsteps echo
in your ear
coming and going

Shall we argue now
as to your religion
and rightful heirs...

Fondly remembering the freedom
and the beauty found
in my own American childhood
(and the silly seriousness of children)
I like to think
you belonged to a young girl
A girl with joy in her heart
and a brilliant mind...
even brighter than your gold polished
A girl able to balance on a beam

A girl whose own story
we will never know
She is free to simply be
no ID card- no passport
no prison- no politics
no accusations
no religion
no names

Just life
being lived

little golden bell

perhaps she meant
to drop you.


Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Some poems

Anne Selden Annab

dedicated with love to my family & friends

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Monday, April 18, 2011

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Land Day & Liberation... MARCH FORTH!

March 31 2011 Google Image search for Growing Gardens for Palestine

I am growing old. We all are. My children are reaching adulthood and coming into their own. Our home is now a place they come back to from various adventures. Eventually they will all have their own homes and families I hope- and my home and garden will be a place they want come to visit when they can. Life moves on. Spring returns with birdsong and blooms and beautiful days where it just feels good to be alive...
Chickadee in our Maple Tree

Last year, on my Annie's New Letters (& Notes) blog I celebrated Women's History month here in America by blogging about some of my favorite Palestinian-American Artists, Writers & Poets: Artists using their talents- and their beauty inside and out- to empower Palestine and America and the Arts... and civilization itself.

Their order listed here is simply a random who ever popped up first line up as I blogged one and then another last March. All, each in their own creative ways are equally important and fascinating and well worth appreciating:


Palestinian-American POET Ibtisam Barakat

Palestinian-American POET Naomi Shihab Nye

Palestinian-American ARTIST Samia Halaby

Palestinian-American POET Nathalie Handal

Palestinian-American writer Susan Abulhawa

Palestinian-American ARTIST Emily Jacir

Palestinian-American filmmaker Annemarie Jacir

Palestinian-American stand-up comedian Maysoon Zayid

part-Palestinian-ALL-American NOVELIST Randa Jarrar

Palestinian-American POET: Suheir Hammad

This year I widened my MARCH FORTH net to include women world wide- and men.

We are all in this together, for women's liberation is the first real step towards the liberation of all of human kind.

There are many wise and wonderful voices- too many for all to be heard. My feeble efforts to gather together some should be seen as a beginning only- certainly not the end, and not even the middle. Let a multitude of others step up to gently and compassionately and intelligently help build a positive paper trail for Palestine- and for civilization itself. Let the market place of ideas burgeon with good intentions and positive efforts as we the people everywhere help build a better future for all our children.


This year I have been very excited to see some very inspiring efforts for Palestine. I have watched both the American Task Force on Palestine [ATFP] and the General Delegation of the P.L.O. to the United States taking mainstream media work very seriously, listening and learning how to help redirect the conversation here in America in much more positive and helpful directions. Both compile fascinating daily round-ups of important mainstream news and opinion regarding Palestine, and both are important and reliable resources for people who care about mainstream American efforts and Palestine's future as a real nation state. I hope they both continue on with their good work.

There are also many other organizations and individuals working hard to help gather up support for Palestine- far too numerous to name, and we all have our own personal favorites and preferences. Photographs and posters and stories and songs are passed around and savored. Palestine is becoming more and more real to more and more people worldwide as the global information age opens doors and windows everywhere, in ways that could not even be imagined a generation ago. It is up to ALL of us to either help- or hinder- Palestinian efforts to build a real Palestinian state.

Home and family have been very important to me through out all my life. Luckily I live in a country where our property rights are respected- and the rule of fair and just laws helps keep the peace... AND luckily my hardworking husband has a good job which has helped empower us as parents and as citizens.

"Civic Muscle" is a tag that I started to apply to some of my Annie's New Letters (& notes) posts this past year. I saw the phrase in an article in USA Today about American youth and it really caught my attention- what a perfect way to express a very important concept, and a crucial aspect of real democracy.

Glass vase from Hebron- a gift from a friend who likes my letters & poems



Viewpoint: The Grass is Not Always Greener on the Other Side by Harriet Straughen for MIFTAH

Time to Make the Promise of Equality a Reality

My Letter to the Washington Post RE In Obama’s push for Mideast peace, whose side is he on? by Jackson Diehl

Israel’s Bent Neck...by Joharah Baker for MIFTAH

Hanan Ashrawi: "We deserve our freedom, we deserve our state"

German woman devoted to removing Nazi graffiti

Riz Khan - The Arab Street

Women against fundamentalism and for equality | The Elders

Joharah Baker: Palestinian Women Deserve Celebration

Palestinian Women: Narrative Histories and Gendered Memories... & more from This Week in Palestine

Specialized radio station promotes rights of Palestinian women

The Arab Woman You Don't See...

My letter to the Economist RE Israel's Jewish identity. The state we're in

Why Settlements must Go By Joharah Baker for MIFTAH


Michelle Bachelet: “Think of how much more we can do once women are fully empowered as active agents of change and progress within their societies...”

Kim Barker: "Most journalists just don’t report it"

Professor Hala Nassar leaving Yale: “As for me, if I’ve been persecuted or not,” Nassar said. “I’ll keep it to myself.”

Reem Kelani's ululations ... Tahrir Square, Cairo, Friday 11th February

"International human rights law and international humanitarian law are not negotiable. No individual or state can be considered exempt..."

UNWRA's Isabel de la Cruz: "I take aim and shoot all over the place, looking for the human inspiration for our “Peace starts here” campaign."

Planting Eden

Suheir Hammad: Poems of war, peace, women, power | Video on TED.com

Ask a Name... a poem by Anne Selden Annab in Growing Gardens for Palestine

Threads of Identity: Preserving Palestinian Costume and Heritage

[2010] Celebrating Women's History Month by celebrating some GREAT Palestinian-American Artists, Writers & Poets

Yesterday was Land Day for Palestine. I did what I could to help honor and empower Palestine by searching the Internet to find inspiring information and images to blog. And today, in Growing Gardens for Palestine I am celebrating women's liberation as an important part of progress for all people- regardless of race, religion or gender.... or nationality.

Roses- a recent Valentine's Day gift from my husband Jaffar

Long ago, when I was a young and I fell in love with my husband Jaffar I was working full time in a bookstore. I really liked that job. I liked working with books, and I liked helping people find the perfect book. I also liked learning how a business is run- learning many lessons really about life. Lessons I've been able to translate into helping build a good marriage and life for our family. When I married my husband I had no idea what life would bring, both the challenges and the pleasures- nor did I know how much more I would love him as time goes by and we find ourselves growing old together.

Everywhere on earth young people are falling in love, getting married, making a life and a home together. Many (but not all) will soon enough be totally busy with the challenging task of raising children... and growing gardens of their own, each in their own unique way.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Ask a Name... a poem by Anne Selden Annab

The light comes in
with rules
about rainbows

We follow with myths
and memories...

gleaning goodness

A story retold becomes
as real as The Arc...
as firm as the floorboards
under my feet

and as big as the sky-
when I step outside...

Every fairy tale
a confirmation
a promise kept
to captivate
for generations

Ask a name
and then spin spin spin
turn straw into gold

poem copyright ©2011 Anne Selden Annab

(oil painting The Harvest by Ibrahim Ghannam

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

This Week in Palestine 2011 Agenda... Celebrating Jericho- Ten Thousand Years of Civilization

2011 Agenda Jericho- Ten Thousand Years of Civilization- PDF file

2011 Agenda Jericho- Ten Thousand Years of Civilization- PDF file